What we do

Taumata Arowai is the new water services regulator for Aotearoa.

We are committed to ensuring all communities have access to safe drinking water every day. We also have an oversight role in protecting the environment from the impacts of wastewater and stormwater.

Our regulatory approach

Taumata Arowai is a taking a balanced regulatory approach. This means we will adopt a mix of responsive and proactive regulatory activities. Our focus will be to incentivise desirable behaviour changes in the drinking water sector and to disincentivise behaviours that do not support effective risk management or increase the likelihood of harm to consumers from unsafe drinking water.

Our regulatory interventions will be proportionate and directed to address the risk and nature of the behaviours of regulated parties. Our decision to intervene will be based on the need to:

  • protect people and communities from serious risk to their health due to the quality or quantity of drinking water being supplied, and
  • support the water services sector to improve its performance and environmental outcomes.

We will take a strong and clear regulatory response if drinking water suppliers engage in unacceptable conduct or do not take their ‘duty of care’ responsibilities seriously.

Interventions to protect public health and improve performance in the water services sector include:

  • Promoting supplier responsibility: We will provide national guidelines and good practice guidance on Te Mana o te Wai, regulatory obligations and suppliers' duty of care.
  • Taking a balanced approach to regulation: We will use a range of tools and approaches to ensure suppliers have effective risk management practices, strengthen the water services sector’s performance and improve environmental outcomes. 
  • Undertaking enforcement action: Our enforcement activities will be proportionate to the risk to consumers and the extent to which the supplier has failed to meet their duties.
  • Responding to emergencies to ensure public safety: We will engage effectively with response agencies and ensure our emergency powers are available to support emergency responses when it is appropriate to do so.
  • Providing information and insights to advise the sector and prioritise our activities: We will analyse the data and information we obtain from suppliers to prioritise our work based on risk and share insights to support the continuous improvement of performance across the drinking water sector.
  • Enhancing sector structure and capability: We will contribute to the water services sector’s growth and development.
  • Informing and protecting consumers and communities: We will ensure consumers and communities understand critical information about their drinking water supply and can engage with their supplier. The public know how to raise a concern or a complaint about water services.